Like many of its counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia has experienced significant economic growth over the past several years. The country has charted a 10.8-percent growth rate since 2005, according to the African Development Bank. Ethiopia was predicted to supplant Kenya as East Africa’s largest economy in 2016, and its gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to hit almost $80 billion this year.
While it’s often what gets the most attention, wildlife trafficking isn’t the only threat to Africa’s wildlife. As people and wildlife increasingly find themselves in closer quarters a new problem is intensifying: that of human–wildlife conflict.
I first met Lisa two years ago, at the Lupani Community School in Zambia. A shy, intelligent fifth grader, she was working hard to keep up with her studies. Now, in grade 7, Lisa has just won first prize in a district-level social studies competition and is traveling to the provincial capital to represent her district at the regional level.
As AWF Trustee Myma Belo-Osagie wrote in her International Women’s Day blog post at the beginning of the month, women in Africa must step up and engage in conservation on the continent. Without their involvement on today’s most pressing matters—such as sustainable development and economic growth, and how conservation fits into these contexts—she argues that Africa risks being left behind the rest of the world.
When, on Dec. 30, 2016, the Chinese government made public that it would halt its legal domestic ivory trade by the end of the coming year, it immediately attracted the attention of conservationists and the global media alike. As AWF and other conservation groups see it, the single announcement has the potential to completely upend the illegal wildlife trade.